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Personal Care Needs Rapidly Escalate With Aging

July 7, 2009

According to early release statistics from the National Health Interview Survey conducted by the US National Center For Health Statistics, the number of people with personal care needs jumps significantly by decade after the age of 65. Personal care needs, often described as “activities of daily living” or ADLs, include eating, bathing, dressing and getting around inside the home. From age 65 to 74, on average 3.4 percent of Americans needed helped from others with their personal care needs. That number just about doubles to 6.7 percent for people 75 to 84 years old. For those in the next decade of life, aged 85 and over, the number nearly triples again to 19.3 percent of people in that age bracket. African-American and Hispanic people are about twice as likely as whites to need personal care assistance and, for all three age groups, women were more likely than men to need such help. Of course, the positive news is that over 80 percent of people over 85 are able to manage on their own.